6 Dec 2012

Master waka builder arrives for welcome

7:16 am on 6 December 2012

Ngapuhi master waka builder Hector Busby was waiting onshore on Easter Island on Thursdayto be part of welcome party for the Waka Tapu expedition.

Two ocean going waka hourua Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Auckland in September to make a 10,000 nautical mile voyage to Rapanui using only the moon, the stars and the currents to guide them.

Mr Busby built Te Aurere 20 years ago and has been on previous trips using traditional navigation techniques passed down by his ancestors.

The two waka have been anchored just offshore since Saturday.

Waka Tapu skipper Jack Thatcher says the Rapanui people requested that the welcome did not start before Hector Busby arrived.

He says the people of Rapanui have a great deal of respect for Mr Busby because he has taught them how to build Polynesian canoes and has passed down his valuable navigation knowledge.

Mr Thatcher says there will be a tapu lifting ceremony, a visit to the Moai structures and a big feast and entertainment where the Rapanui people will honour and reconnect with them as their Polynesian cousins.

The Waka Tapu expedition will leave Rapanui on 10 December.